Tour de France: Cavendish!


British RR Champion Mark Cavendish shrugged off the illness that he went into the Tour with and won his first stage of the 2013 race, stage win number 24

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Omega Pharma Quickstep’s Mark Cavendish had the perfect leadout from his team to catapult him into the sweetspot of the bunch kick from where he launched his lethal sprint and no-one got near him.

030713 OPQS TDF Stage 5 Cavendish

The battle between the leadout trains of Quickstep and Lotto were a joy to watch as they went head to head but it was Quickstep who timed it right and helped their man win their first stage of the race.

Gone was the disappointment of losing the team time trial by less than a second and the jubilation of winning a stage where the peloton only caught the break (Reza, Arashiro, Lutsenko and De Gendt) in the final kilometres with the Astana rider Lutsenko the last to sucumb to the peloton.

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The profile was flat, a sprint was expected, and a favourite for the fifth stage was nominated by just around everyone. If you’ve watched sprints at the Tour de France since 2008, you know who the fastest man in the world is.

Mr Cavendish has won multiple stages since his first triumph at the Tour and in five years he’s now collected a total of 24… and we can expect this to grow even more judging by the manner in which his Omega Pharma-Quickstep team rode into Marseille.

Yes, there was an escape. Yes, that was the talk of the coverage for much of the line stage. But no, the antics of De Gendt, Arashiro, Sicard, Delaplace, Reza and Lutsenko won’t be what people remember of the stage. The ‘Cav’ show has begun again. He is the star of sprinting and no one else can do much about it.

The British champion beat his former team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen and last year’s green jersey winner Peter Sagan convincingly in Marseille. Cavendish is now second in the points classification with only the Slovakian star ahead of him in the rankings.
There were 195 riders at the sign-on for the 228.5km stage from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille with Ted King (CAN) the non-starter as he was outside the time limit in stage four. The official start of the stage was 12.01pm. The itinerary included four categorised climbs: the cote de Chateauneuf (cat-3 at 22km), followed by four cat-4s: col de l’Ange (93km), cote de la Roquebrussanne (154km), cote des Bastides (198km). The intermediate sprint was in Lorgues at 102.5km. The temperature at the start of the stage was 26.5km degrees Celsius.

Six escape: Arashiro becomes virtual leader…
Shortly after the official start, De Gendt (VCD) attacked and five others chased him down. An escape group of six formed and it was composed of the Belgian who was third in the Giro d’Italia last year as well as Arashiro and Reza (EUC), Sicard (EUS), Lutsenko (AST) and Delaplace (SOJ).

On the first climb, De Gendt jumped ahead to take two points (followed by Delaplace for second at 22km). The advantage of the escapees grew quickly and at the top of the first climb, the peloton was 12’15” behind. Arashiro was the best placed of the escape group on GC after four stages – 75th, at 3’42” – so he became the virtual leader of the Tour. The average speed for the first hour was 37.6km/h. The maximum advantage of the break was 12’45” at 37km. By the 57km mark, the lead had dropped to 11’30”.

Orica-GreenEdge led the peloton and it was the first team of the 2013 race to opt to wear the yellow helmets as leaders of the team classification. The average speed for the second hour was 39.4km/h. Greipel led Kristoff, Sagan and Cavendish over the intermediate sprint line 9’35” behind the escapees.

Putting the lead-out trains on the rails…
With 100km to go, Argos and Lotto also sent riders forward to help with the pace setting duties that had been conducted by Orica-GreenEdge for most of the stage. Arashiro collected the point for the third climb. The average speed for the third hour was 42.9km/h.

With 53km to go, De Gendt accelerated and only Arashiro and Lutsenko were able to follow. Reza later sprinted across to the lead group but Sicard and Delaplace lost ground. With 20km to go, the leading four had an advantage of just 2’00”. Over the col de la Gineste several riders including Millar (GRS), Goss (OGE) and Thomas (SKY) were dropped but some rejoined the peloton.

With 16km to go, there was a crash involving Vande Velde (GRS), Rolland (EUC), Kittel (ARG) and about 15 other riders. They all remounted their bikes and rejoined the peloton that was behind by 1’10” with 15km to go.

Lutsenko makes one last bid
Over the top of the Gineste climb, Lutsenko attacked the lead group that was just 30” ahead of the peloton. Reza was able to respond but Martin (OPQ). With 7km to go, the Kazakhstani and Frenchman led by 14”. Reza was caught by the peloton with 4.5km to go and Lutsenko finally conceded with 4km to go. Omega Pharma-Quickstep was the dominant team but Lotto-Belisol and Cannondale were also very well represented at the front of the bunch.

Omega Pharma-Quickstep deliver Cavendish for another victory
Going under the ‘flamme rouge’ there were seven riders from the Omega Pharma-Quickstep at the front of the peloton. The lead-out train was on the rails and steaming towards another triumph… Mark Cavendish came off the wheel of Steegmans at about the same time that there was a big crash about 30 riders back; all the sprint specialists were represented but none of them could come around the British champion who has picked up his 24th Tour de France stage win and his first with the Belgian team.

Simon Gerrans finished 15th in the stage, his team-mate Daryl Impey was just two places ahead of him and thus the order of the top nine on GC didn’t change in stage five but Alberto Contador replaced Michael Rogers in 10th place overall. Gerrans will wear the yellow jersey in stage six.


Stage 5
1 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 05:31:51
2 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Sky Procycling
3 SAGAN Peter Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
4 GREIPEL Andre Lotto Belisol Team
5 FERRARI Roberto Lampre – Merida
6 KRISTOFF Alexander Katusha Team
7 LOBATO DEL VALLE Juan Jose Euskaltel – Euskadi
8 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas Garmin – Sharp
9 LEMOINE Cyril Sojasun
10 ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin Movistar Team
11 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale
12 DEGENKOLB John Team Argos – Shimano
13 TRENTIN Matteo Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
14 VAN POPPEL Danny Vacansoleil – DCM
15 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE

1 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE 18:19:15
2 IMPEY Daryl Orica GreenEDGE ,,
3 ALBASINI Michael Orica GreenEDGE ,,
4 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:01
5 CHAVANEL Sylvain Omega Pharma – Quick-Step ,,
6 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Sky Procycling 00:03
7 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling ,,
8 PORTE Richie Sky Procycling ,,
9 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff 00:09
10 KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff ,,

Points: Peter Sagan
KoM: Pierre Rolland
Young Rider: Michal KWIATKOWSKI


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